The Bruichladdich distillery on Islay has, among its various bottlings, the well regarded Black Art series. Something of a playpen for the creative mind of the distillers who work there, the Black Art expressions have tended over the years to take those who drink it on something of a whisky spiritual journey. This journey continues now with the release of Black Art 6.
Bruichladdich Black Art Edition 06.1, according to those behind it, is a whisky that’s about as mysterious as previous releases in this series. What we do know is that head distiller Adam Hannett has created an unpeated single malt drawn from casks which have been there aging since his early days in the warehouses, working at the time under now former master distiller Jim McEwan. Don’t let that misguide you though – this is Hannett’s creation now sitting on retail shelves.
Bruichladdich Black Art Edition 06.1 (image via Bruichladdich)
Limited to 18,000 bottles, Black Art 6 is pegged at 26 years of age, bottled at 46.9% ABV and limited to 18,000 bottles globally. Beyond that this polished walnut color whisky is an unknown quantity in terms of cask mix types. Here are some official tasting notes at least that might offer some clues:
Nose: There is a huge depth and richness on initial nosing. Roll the glass through your fingers to rouse the aromas and rich, black charred oak with blackberry jam, dark chocolate, raisin, plum, elderberry and apple appear. Notes of marzipan and lemon meringue pie give sweetness and tell of the Bruichladdich DNA working with the casks. Cedar wood and brown sugar come through as the whisky opens.
Taste: The richness and vitality of the oak and the fruit is astounding. The soft orchard fruit of the spirit comes through after opening a little, sitting beautifully alongside fragrant vanilla custard. Sip again and taste the dark fruits; date, fig, raisin and chocolate, crystallised ginger and floral red rose. Impossible to define as a particular style this dram twists and changes constantly, each layer revealed adds to the mystery of how this whisky was created. Layers of honeycomb, soft fruit, praline, tobacco coconut and a sublime texture tell of its class.
Finish: Chocolate, apricot, pineapple, classic exotic fruits from well-aged Bruichladdich tell of the quality and balance of oak and spirit. The oak speaks of its quality now with brown sugar, ginger nut biscuits, toffee, orange scented caramel and a velvet tobacco finish.
“There may never be an understanding of how this whisky was created but tasting it and understanding why is more important,” said Hannett in a prepared statement. “To compare and compartmentalise this exceptionally rare and unique dram is to miss the point of a whisky that is the essence of the distiller’s instinct, passion and experience. If you must ask, you will never know.”
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...